China prepares Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft for launch to Tiangong space station

(ORDO NEWS) — A Long March 7 rocket with a robotic cargo spacecraft on Saturday (May 7) was taken to the site of the Chinese Wenchang cosmodrome for a scheduled flight to the Chinese space station.

The Chinese rocket is carrying the Tianzhou-4 cargo ship, an automated resupply vehicle that is expected to travel to China’s Tiangong-Tianhe main module in the next few days.

Although the China National Space Administration has not released a launch date, there have been reports in the media that the launch could take place on Monday, May 9 at 18:15 GMT. It will be early May 10 Beijing time.

The Tianzhou-4 cargo vehicle is the third automatic resupply vehicle to visit the new Tianhe module of the Tiangong space station (Tianzhou-1 flew to China’s prototype Tiangong-2 space station in 2017).

Its flight follows China’s latest long-duration mission to a station called Shenzhou 13, which sent three astronauts to Tiangong for six months last October and returned to Earth last month.

China’s Tianzhou cargo ships are 10.5 meters long and are designed to deliver thousands of kilograms of cargo, scientific equipment and fuel to the Tiangong space station.

The predecessor of Tianzhou-4, Tianzhou-3, launched to Tiangong in September 2021. On April 20, it docked from the rear docking port of the Tianhe module to the forward port to make room for the arrival of the Tianzhou-4, the China Manned Space Agency said.

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